Residents ‘fearful’ as fire breaks out at block of flats near Grenfell Tower

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A fire at a block of flats close to Grenfell Tower had residents fearing a blaze similar to the one that killed 72 people in June 2017.

Around 70 firefighters and 10 engines were sent to a 12th floor balcony at Markland House in Darfield Way, Notting Hill, on Friday morning.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said crews are speaking to residents in the building, which is a short walk away from Grenfell Tower in west London, to reassure them.

Firefighters were called at 11.39am about “smoke issuing” from a building, with 999 control officers taking 27 calls to the incident.

Scotland Yard said there were no reports of any injuries, while LFB said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Resident Samantha Findley, 41, said she smelled what she thought was burning plastic in the tower block and immediately left her 10th floor flat.

She told PA: “I smelled it. So I thought ‘let me get out, I’m out’. I grabbed my keys, my phone. I’m out. I’m not seeing where it is or anything. I’m out.”

She added: “I was concerned. I was very fearful.”

Standing looking at the block and pointing towards Grenfell Tower, she said: “That’s Grenfell there as you can see. That was my first instinct when I smelled smoke. Everyone is thinking of Grenfell.”

Darfield Way fire
Crews remain on the scene (Victoria Jones/PA)

Dhin Chittenden said she cried as she ran down the steps from her 11th floor flat.

The 26-year-old receptionist, who has lived in the building with her husband for a month, said she was already fearful about another Grenfell Tower-type tragedy before Friday’s fire broke out.

She said: “I kept thinking about that. If it’s happened somewhere else then it could happen again.”

A maintenance worker at the tower block knocked on the couple’s flat door and told them to leave.

Standing in her slippers, Ms Chittenden said: “I just grabbed my phone, my keys and ran downstairs.”

Ms Chittenden’s husband Fernando Villanueva said: “When I opened the door (to leave the flat) I saw the smoke coming out of the lift.

“My wife, she was thinking of Grenfell Tower. She knows what happened there and was very concerned.”

Before the fire was put out, Danielle Bond, who was watching on from a nearby office block, claimed the fire had spread to six floors, telling the PA news agency: “The fire is spreading upwards, don’t know what it’s like inside but flames are going up the building on one side.”

LFB said the fire was under control by 12.55pm but said crews will remain on the scene on Friday afternoon.

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